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the Jews is the advocate of Christ, and that the cause in which he so signally triumphs, involves the dearest hopes and happiness of mankind.
The calumnies of Apion and others against the Jews, are not sufficiently interesting to be inserted in this place*; I shall therefore pass by
"As to the writings of Apion," says our author, "I se
riously thought them unworthy of an answer. For the charges alleged by him are similar to those which have been made by others. The things which he has added are frigid and despicable: they shew in most places great scurrility and profaneness, and, if I may be permitted to speak the truth, great ignorance; nor could they come from any man, who was not profligate in manners, and in life a mountebank." Contra Apion, lib. 2. § 1. Apion was contemporary with Philo, and the successful adversary of the Jews, during their persecution by Caligula. Philo appears to have held him in the greatest abhorrence and contempt; and this doubtless is the reason why he has never mentioned him, though he took an active part in distressing the Jews. In the fifth Homily ascribed to Clement, Apion is represented as disputing with that author, respecting the christian doctrine. He seems to have been among the first, who, in order to avoid the attack of the christians on the pagan gods, endeavoured to allegorize the popular language respecting them. Josephus has quoted, in a few instances, the words of his adversary; and I will select two of these, which will fully justify the character Josephus gives of this grammarian. After having spoken of the departure of the Jews out of Egypt, he thus accounts for their resting on the seventh day,
them, and select only a few passages, in which Josephus recommends the religion of Moses, and
Οδεύσαντες γαρ εξ ήμερων ὁδον βουβωνας εσχον, και δια ταυτην την αιτίαν τη έβδομη ήμερα ανεπαύσαντο, σωθεντες εις την χώραν την νυν Ιουδαίαν λεγομενην, και εκάλεσαν την ήμεραν σαββατον, σωζοντες την Αιγυπτιων γλωτταν, το γαρ βουβωνος αλγος καλουσιν Αιγυπτιοι σαββατωσιν. Contra Apion, lib. 2. §2. Having journied six days, they had buboes on their groins. reacked in safety that country which is now called Judea, they rested on the seventh day, and called it SABBATH. the language of Egypt, which they used, is called Sabba, and means a malady on the groins.
For this reason, after they had
Tacitus, we have seen, says that the Jews worshipped the ass, because a drove of asses shewed them a spring of water, when they were thirsty in the wilderness. This calumny was circulated by Apion before him; who says, farther, that when Antiochus Epiphanes entered the temple to plunder it, he found there the head of an ass, made of gold. In hoc sacrario Apion præsumpsit edicere, "asini caput collocasse Judæos, et id colere, ac dignum facere tanta religione; et hoc affirmat faisse depalatum, dum Antioclrus Epiphanes et exspoliasset templum, et illud capud invenisset ex auro compositum multis pecuniis dignum," lib. 2. § 7. It has greatly puzzled the critics to divine the origin of this improbable calumny; and they missed it, I think, because they looked for it too remotely. The Jehovah of the Jews, in the Greek language, is emphatically called on the existing one. This their profane enemies, by a mere pun, changed into & ovos, the Greek name of THE ASS. The influence of erroneous etymology on the opinions and reasonings of the ancients,
under it, the religion of Jesus, to the pagan world.
"What government," says he, "can be more pure, more honourable and worthy of God than this, in which all the people are trained up in piety, in which the priests are faithful and exemplary, and have its functions administered as one religious solemnity. Those institutions which strangers, as unable to conform to them for many days, brand as mysteries and rites, we practise all our lives with great delight and immoveable perseverance. And in what do these mysteries and rites consist? What do they enjoin or prohibit? They are simple and easily learnt. Their first object is to inculcate worthy notions of God; that he possesses all things, that he is all-perfect, ever blessed, and sufficient in himself, being the beginning, the middle, and end of all things; that
was much more extensive than modern readers can well credit. Thus the similarity of Loudatos to Ida, gave birth to the fiction that the Jews came from Crete: In like manner, the similarity of σαββω το σαββατον, in all likelihood, occasioned the story of the buboes on their groins. Equally similar is to ovos, and equally likely was it to give rise to the report that the Jews worshipped the ass. What renders this probability still more probable is, that the Egyptians had ever spoken in terms of blasphemy and reproach of the God of Israel.
* Contra Apion, lib. 2. § 22, and the sections following.
he is most obvious to us in his works and in his gifts, but incomprehensible in his essence and majesty; that no materials however costly can represent, or no art however exquisite, can delineate his form; that we can neither see nor conceive any thing like him, nor is it lawful to draw his image. We see indeed the light, the heaven, the earth, the sun and moon, the succession of animals and of fruits-these are his works; he made them, not with hands, not with labour; nor did he need the co-operation of any. He simply wished all things to exist; and this fair and goodly system immediately came into being. It is the duty of all men to make him their model, to worship him in the exercise of virtue; for virtue is the worship most pure and acceptable in his sight. We offer sacrifices not that we may fill ourselves to satiety and intoxication, which is not agreeable to the will of God, and which occasions infamy and extravagance, but that we may become as much as possible temperate, obedient and orderly. In our sacrifices we feel it our duty to pray first for the common good, and next for ourselves. For we deem ourselves born for the benefit of the community; and he who prefers the interests of others to his own, is most acceptable to God. Our addresses to him should consist of praise and prayer, not that he might give us good things, (for he freely gives to all, and that,
unasked) but that by asking, we may become fit to receive, and having received, to keep them."
Josephus next enumerates the duties which the law enjoins in the more important relations of life, in order to shew how superior the Jewish were to all other laws. I shall select a few instances of the manner he recommends them, and through them the gospel to the Greeks and Romans; and we cannot wonder that multitudes in every place should abandon their own superstitious notions, and receive a religion so salutary rational, and simple. Respecting the duty of parents to their children, he says, "The law does not allow them at the birth of any of their children to indulge in expensive festivals, and thus give occasion to excess and drunkenness ; but commands them from the beginning to bring them up in habits of sobriety, to teach them letters, to make them conversant with our institutions, to study the deeds of their ancestors, that they may imitate them; and that being educated in the laws, they may not transgress them, or that, if they did, they may have no excuse from ignorance."
"It provides also for the decent interment of the dead, prohibiting expensive funerals or costly monuments. It enjoins the duty of burying the deceased, only on the nearest relatives, but recommends it as a laudable act in all, who pass“